Kentucky Derby favorite scratched from race due to bruised right foot

Post time for the 2023 Kentucky Derby is scheduled for 6:57 p.m. ET

Kentucky Derby favorite Forte has been scratched from Saturday’s race, Churchill Downs announced. 

Forte was removed from the race following a Saturday morning workout

Forte is washed in the barn

Forte is washed in the barn area after morning workouts in preparation for the 149th running of the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs on May 5, 2023, in Louisville, Kentucky.  (Stacy Revere/Getty Images)

The horse was a 4-1 favorite to win the Kentucky Derby prior to the announcement. 


Trainer Todd Pletcher and co-owner Mike Repole were seen speaking with a state-commissioned veterinarian after Forte’s morning workout. 

Forte is the fifth horse scratched from the Derby, and the race is now set to be run with 18 horses. It would be the smallest field to run at the Kentucky Derby since 2020, when just 15 horses ran, according to ESPN. 

Forte trainer Todd Pletcher

Forte (15) trainer Todd Pletcher on the backside at Churchill Downs in the early morning before the 149th running of the Kentucky Derby on May 6, 2023, at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky.  (Jeff Moreland/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

It’s the first time since 1936 that five horses have been scratched from the race. 


Practical Move, Lord Miles, and Continuar were all scratched on Thursday, with Skinner scratched on Friday due to an elevated temperature.

"After evaluating the colt upon my arrival, I feel that he has not been able to reach the peak fitness required to take on a race as tough as the Kentucky Derby," said Continuar trainer Yoshito Yahagi, according to the Courier Journal. 

Forte runs on the track

Forte runs on the track during the morning training for the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs on May 3, 2023, in Louisville, Kentucky.  (Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

On Thursday, Churchill Downs indefinitely suspended trainer Saffie Joseph, Jr. following the sudden deaths of two horses. 

"Given the unexplained sudden deaths, we have reasonable concerns about the condition of his horses, and decided to suspend him indefinitely until details are analyzed and understood," said Bill Mudd, President and Chief Operating Officer of CDI. "The safety of our equine and human athletes and integrity of our sport is our highest priority. We feel these measures are our duty and responsibility."

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